A guide to sweeping Southern California water restrictions

A guide to sweeping Southern California water restrictions

Brown lawns. Concerns about dying tree. Big fines.

Drought and climate change are forcing unprecedented water restrictions in parts of Southern California and millions of residents are wondering what happens now.

Here is a guide to what we know.

The plan

On Tuesday, the Metropolitan Water District ordered outdoor water usage be restricted to just one day a week for about 6 million people in parts of Los Angeles, Ventura and San Bernardino counties. The restrictions will take effect June 1 and will apply to areas that depend on water from the drought-ravaged State Water Project.

6 million affected

The regulations don’t cover all of Southern California. According to a map presented Tuesday by the MWD, the areas include a large swath of Ventura County as well as the San Fernando Valley, the Westside of Los Angeles, sections of the San Gabriel Valley and southwestern San Bernardino County.

A worsening drought

At the heart of the crisis is a worsening drought that has gripped California and the American Southwest. The extreme dryness has left Southern California with a dwindling water supply. “These areas rely on extremely limited supplies from Northern California, and there is not enough supply available to meet the normal demands in these areas for the remainder of the year,” said Adel Hagekhalil, the MWD’s general manager.

What could be next?

Officials have warned that even more restrictions on water supply in parts of Southern California could come if conditions fail to improve. “If we don’t see cutbacks, or conditions do not get better, the Metropolitan board has given me the authority to ban all watering as soon as Sept. 1,” Hagekhalil said.

Brown lawns, protecting trees

With outdoor watering severely limited, officials expect that some lawns will need to go brown. “We cannot afford green lawns,” Hagekhalil said. There are exceptions to the new rules, however, that are meant to protect the region’s trees, which provide valuable shade and help stave off dangerous heat health effects. “The fact is, we don’t want to see our beautiful and ecologically important tree canopy suffer because of these restrictions,” said Deven Upadhyay, the MWD’s chief operating officer. “People should be able to continue to hand-water their trees.”

How to conserve?

We’ve all been through this drill so many times, some of the obvious water-saving steps have become almost second nature. Less lawn-watering. Shorter showers. Fewer flushes. But as you go about trimming your water usage at home, experts warn that nips and tucks alone can’t get us out of the multiyear drought we’re in.

Soruce : https://www.latimes.com/environment/story/2022-04-28/a-guide-to-sweeping-southern-california-water-restrictions

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